February 21, 2017

Micro maze plus one-man (or more) relay at Riverstone with tech!

Come out for our inaugural electronic punch meet! We're using ALL the capabilities of the new system, with every one one of our card readers in play and nearly maxing out the number of controls our sticks can hold. We've planned a course that would be nearly impossible to check manually.

If you don't know what an orienteering maze looks like, check it out here. (Ours will be a little smaller).

We have a longish and short course. The long course will be a trip through the maze plus a (mostly) urban loop, repeated 3 times with 3 different maze courses and 3 different short loops. The loops are 1.2, 1.1, and 1.3K long with 4-5 controls on each. You can run it doing all 3 loops yourself or as a team, doing handoffs at the maze entrance.

If you prefer a shorter or easier course and don't have a relay team, we also have 2 mini loops, which use 2 of the maze courses and 2 3-control loops. It's yellow (advanced beginner) difficulty, but also should be a fun sprint for more advanced navigators.

Even though it is urban terrain with lots of features to assist your navigation, the shear number of punches and distractions is going to mean that you have to maintain your focus to avoid a mispunch! The art will be balancing speed on this fast course with the need for attention to detail.

Date: Saturday, February 25, 2017
Start times: 11am-Noon, individual starts
Format: One (or more) man-relay plus maze (3 loops)
Time limit: All in by 2pm
Start Location: Riverstone gym, turn right on Lysted Ave, just before the main school building. The gym is the last building on the left, next to the tennis courts.
Bring: compass and SI sticks/cards; we have sticks available for those who don't have any
Cost:  $10 adult, $5 junior for one day club dues.  You can also buy a club membership pro-rated for February ($42 individual/$60 family). $2 for SI stick rental. 

We will declare winners for the full course in the individual and team categories. We will also add up the maze performances to declare a maze winner separate from the full course, so all you quick turning, quick witted sprinters, bring your game.

February 5, 2017

Dashing through the Ice and Snow at Willow

Katrina Wright slogged through the snow to find the one "post" control.
It was winter.  It was icy.  And it was wet.  That pretty much sums up the glorious orienteering conditions we had for the first orienteering meet of 2017.  A number of hungry, intrepid orienteers took up the gauntlet and slid their cars across the parking lot in order to find some of those orange squares and exercise their brains and bodies.  Which everyone did to great effect after the Boise Snowmaggedon that will go down in the history books.
Doug LaMott checks his Greenbelt footing finishing up.
There was just one score course to rule them all.  I adjusted the time limit slightly to 45 minutes after setting controls and seeing how slow it was going to be.  The finish times definitely reflected the challenge, and we only had a single orienteer just barely manage to eke them all (but ideally, I might have set the number just out of reach!)  Half the controls were 10 points, the other half were 20.  5 points per full minute deduced if overtime.
Ben Brock uses his minute to plan the route.

What route would you make?
In a good sign of the control placement, strategies varied far and wide, indicating no obvious ideal route to maximize the points.  In many cases it was a tough choice between the icy greenbelt or the surprisingly deep snow that greatly limited speed.  Those with studded shoes could make quick work of the ice, but nobody was saved from high stepping in the soft snow.
Innes Wright picks up his feet for the direct route home.
A number of orienteers immediately headed to the Veteran's side of the map, where a few more of the higher 20 pointers provided promise.  This included Bill, John, Ben, Todd, Jay, and Innes, and generally that strategy paid off as long as they could make good on some speed.  As it turned out, Jay was the most aggressive in leveraging every possible shortcut provided by the map and weather - he used the log in the high water to jump to the peninsula with #19 and #24 (avoiding the out/back), he gambled crossing the ice surrounding #33 and found it solid to a submerged log, and he used the drainage tunnel underneath Veteran's to save even more time.  Ben and Todd also played a couple of these cards to acquire their impressive totals.
Todd Dinkleman doesn't look that tired!
In a shared twist of fate, the far west side of the map around #20 proved to be a kind of Bermuda triangle for orienteers.  Both Melanie and Doug got confused around this corner, and went beyond the map boundaries before correcting their error, losing some time.  Jay intentionally saved this for the very last knowing his past navigational errors there, and then skipped it entirely to make the time limit.  Todd noted his attempt to take the indistinct trail back towards #21 instead of the Greenbelt cost him a precious minute or so before he realized how green it was, and he bailed off to the icy pavement instead.
Jerry and John review maps and a bit of running life for good measure.
All told it proved to be quite an adventurous day of orienteering out there in the winter wilds of Willow Lane.  I suspect most headed off to a few Super Bowl parties feeling a little more content for having oiled the rusty winter orienteering hinges in preparation for the future events on our calendar.

Many thanks to my infinitely patient co-director Dondi who got things set up as I scrambled in from course setting and started several off.  Special thanks to Ben and Todd who picked up a large number of controls for me right after they finished their rounds.

See you in a few weeks when Ben and Melanie make use of our new epunch system!

Jeff Black

February 3, 2017

Winter Willow Wandering Widely

Given the slightly extreme winter we had this year but sustaining interest in getting out and stretching the legs, we will hold a park Score O at Willow Lane.  This is actually the first time we have fully exercised the revised Willow Lane map that Sergey updated for the last national sprint meet in June 2015.

A score course will test your quick thinking skills a bit further and give you a mental refresh after the long holiday hiatus from orienteering.  Controls are scattered across the map, and you select your own route to pick points within a fixed time limit.  For this meet points will either be 10 or 20 points.  There is a 5 point penalty for each minute overtime.

Date:  Sunday, February 5
Starts:  11-12pm, individual starts (not mass)
Format:  Score O (one map for all)
Time limit:  approx. 40 minutes
Start:  Willow Lane Complex.  From State street turn west onto Willow Lane (there is a Flying Pie pizza and Burger and Brew in sight of this corner) and enter the park.  Pass through all the parking areas to the primitive parking close to the river at the back.
Bring:  your compass, shoes to traverse semi-frozen but likely wet terrain, clothes to keep you warm during and after.
Dues/waiver:  It's the first meet of the year, that wonderful opportunity when you get to prepurchase the full year of monthly meets (except for Gold Rush, our US champs meet in June) at a big discount.  Your dues go to support club efforts in map development and equipment.  Otherwise...it's the usual $10/person (free for members), or $5/juniors (up to 20 years old).
Don't forget to bring a waiver or a membership form along with check or cash for the meet(s).

Conditions as of Saturday afternoon:  Greenbelt on map area is mostly packed ice covered in water.  Grassy areas are snow covered, varying depths up to 1 foot.  It is very slick in areas, shoes with excellent traction (studs) or traction devices recommended.

This will be a lean meet given the briefest of planning intervals and likely inducements to attend Super Bowl parties, so I'll just be there with the car, maybe a table, the usual rental compasses, and the clock!

Meet Director Jeff Black